Zirconia Dental Crowns

One of the most common procedures implemented in dentistry is the fabrication and placement of a dental crown. Dental crowns have been used as a viable method to restore and preserve teeth for decades. A dental crown, sometimes commonly referred to as a “cap”, is used to restore a tooth that has sustained a significant loss of tooth structure due dental decay, fracture, or failure of previous dental restorations. As the name suggests, a dental crown covers the entirety of the tooth in order to provide additional strength, structure, and prevent further harm.

Throughout the history of dentistry, a number of different materials have been used for the fabrication of dental crowns. Full metal/gold crowns were among the first to be used and are even still used today to treat back teeth due to their favorable mechanical properties. Over time, more esthetic options were needed and thus dental ceramics were created.

The term “dental ceramics” encompasses a wide variety of different materials, however one of newest and most highly utilized today is dental zirconia, which has a number of advantages.

Zirconia Advantages:

  1. High Strength
    • Zirconia is currently the strongest dental material available for dental crown fabrication. Zirconia’s specific chemical composition is designed as such that it prevents cracks from starting and will also prevent cracks from getting larger when they do form. This means that a zirconia dental crown is less likely to fracture compared to other dental materials, reducing the frequency that it would need to be replaced.
  2. Allows for less tooth structure removal
    • Whenever a tooth requires a dental crown, there is a portion of the tooth that must be shaved away in order to allow space for the crown material. As a result of zirconia’s especially high strength, a smaller amount of material thickness is required and thus a smaller amount of tooth structure needs to be removed. This can lead to reduced sensitivity following the procedure and a reduced risk of agitating the tooth’s nerve.
  3. Esthetic, natural appearance
    • Zirconia dental crowns can be specially made to recreate or even enhance the tooth structure being replaced. These crowns have the strength to withstand the biting forces sustained by back teeth, but can also be used on front teeth to create a beautiful smile. .
  4. Ceramic option
    • Zirconia is a variety of ceramic dental material and avoids many of the disadvantages that traditional metals present when used in the mouth. Many metals may cause allergy or other reactions that make them intolerable by the patient. Zirconia has properties that makes it very “biocompatible”, which means that it is generally well tolerated by the body and has low incidence of adverse reactions.

In all, zirconia is a relatively new, reliable option for use as a dental material.  When used in the appropriate manner, it can help maintain the health of teeth as well help provide the beautiful smile that everyone deserves.

If this interests you, make sure to check out our article on ICON® – Addressing Cavities Without Drilling